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The Evening Brief: Feb. 7, 2013

Your evening reading: Perry heading to California for business tour; Morton sees "road to accountability" in inquiry; Poe to help lead GOP immigration caucus

Gov. Rick Perry presenting the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildland Firefighting Teams.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Perry Launches Business Tour in California: "Californians heard from Texas Gov. Rick Perry on radio airwaves this week, in an ad their governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, called 'barely a fart.' Next week, they can expect to see Perry himself, pitching Texas as the business frontier to high tech, insurance and film industry leaders throughout the Golden State."

•    Michael Morton: The TT Interview: "On Wednesday, Michael Morton sat down with the Tribune to talk about the pain and anger the court of inquiry for Ken Anderson is bringing up for him and his hopes for accountability in the wake of his wrongful conviction."

•    Amid Contentious Inquiry, Morton Sees "Road to Accountability": "Exoneree Michael Morton says the sometimes painful court process examining his wrongful conviction is part of a journey he is on to find accountability and promote reform in the criminal justice system."

•    House Committee to Focus on Criminal Code: "Last week, House Speaker Joe Straus appointed a committee to examine the state's Code of Criminal Procedure. Committee members and relevant interest groups were caught by surprise, but they say the code is long overdue for revisions."

•    Lawmakers Advocate Ending Driver Responsibility Program: "Three members of the House are pushing legislation that would end the Texas Driver Responsibility Program — a program they say has been ineffective."


•    Rep. Ted Poe named chair of GOP’s 'Immigration Reform Caucus' (Houston Chronicle): "A Houston-area Republican has moved into a key role in the ongoing discussion of comprehensive immigration reform. Rep. Ted Poe of Humble has been appointed Vice Chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee and the chairman of the all-Republican Immigration Reform Caucus."

•    House Democrat makes rules inquiry to tackle school finance (The Dallas Morning News): "A Texas House Democrat who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus is asking: Why wait for a future legislative session or for Gov. Rick Perry to tell the Legislature to address public school funding? Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, made a lengthy inquiry Thursday about House rules that would allow the body to begin considering legislation earlier than normal in the legislative session."

•    Combs backs transparency bills (Houston Chronicle): "Voters would be regularly informed about pension obligations and other local government debt under legislation promoted today by Comptroller Susan Combs. Appearing at a Capitol press conference with lawmakers who agreed to sponsor legislation at her request, Combs outlined one bill that would require government entities seeking voter approval of new bonds to disclose on the ballot how much debt already existed, and another that would force pension boards to make public their investment returns and obligations."

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